Sage looked at Baron with alarm in her eyes. The clouds were turning a stormy shade of gray. Frantically she rushed back into Baron's bed chamber to retrieve the grimoire. Surely there had to be a spell to compel the weather.
Sage glanced at the bed, where she had left the grimoire sitting. It was gone. Her heart slammed against her rib cage.
Gone. No, it couldn't be.
She threw the covers back, looked under the bed, under the pile of debris that had fallen on the floor. She pressed her palms against her eyes.
This could not be happening.
Moments later Baron stood behind her. He put a hand on her elbow and pulled her hand away from her face. Sage turned abruptly on him. “Tell me you have it!”
Baron's face became grim in confirmation. Sage stormed out of the room. Taking the steps two at a time,careful not to trip on the hem of her skirt she made her way across the castle into her own bed chambers. Silently she pleaded for Odyous to be in her closet where she had left him earlier that day. He too was gone. Hot tears sprang into her eyes.
How could she be so careless?
Miserably she slumped onto her bed. Selfishly she stole a moment to scream her anguish into her pillow. A knock at the door interrupted her session of self loathing. She wiped the back of her hand against her eyes. “Come in!” She growled.
The door opened. Pierson stood in it's frame looking solemn. At the sight of the boy Sage regained her composure. Instantly she remembered how Pierson's parents died out of loyalty towards her. Pierson was left orphaned at the age of twelve. He was reliant on Sage now. Part of her desperately wanted to wrap the boy in a motherly hug and cry into his shoulder, but the more rational part of her knew Pierson was relying on her to be strong and not fall apart at the seems. Still she couldn't help but offer the boy a weak smile.
He returned her smile. “Are you alright?” He asked as he approached her.
Sage stood up. Somehow she found the strength to lie. “Yes. War, you know it can be exhausting,” she waved her hand dismissively. “So how are you doing. You've found a way to keep busy I see. In fact you hardly come around the castle anymore.” Sage noted.
Pierson glanced at his shoes. “I want to,” he admitted. “I've been hunting, a lot. It's how I keep my head about my shoulders.”
Sage nodded. She crossed the room to a small vanity. She opened a jewelry box and pulled out the pendulum and map Pierson had given her. “Perhaps scrying will calm the both of us.”
Pierson grew tense. “I'm sorry. I have to exercise the horses Empress.”
Sage managed another weak smile and did her best not to appear disappointed. Perhaps his mother's pendulum was a sad reminder of what he had lost, because of me, she thought with guilt.
“Of course.” she said. Pierson turned to leave. “Wait!” Sage called.
Pierson tilted his head, curiously. “Yes?”
“Perhaps when things settle down. You can teach me how to use that device again,” she said motioning to the slingshot on his hip.
Pierson turned to face her. “ Only if Master Baron is around. I need an enticing target.”
Sage laughed. “Consider it arranged.”
When Pierson left her mood began to sink, though the distraction had calmed her down some. Baron and his men would have restrained Blue to the best of their abilities. Sage wasn't sure what he was capable of and didn't want to take her chances.
She positioned herself Indian style in the middle of the floor. She closed her eyes medatativley and began to scry with her mind. "Athena I need your assistance," she whispered. At first nothing happened, she thought her attempt at contacting the Goddess had been futile. Than seconds later the room began to shake.
When Sage opened her eyes, Athena sat across from her in a gauzy black dress. She looked bored and slightly annoyed. “What now?”
Sage smiled in spite of Athena's foul mood. “The weather. It's changing rapidly and the properties of water fuel dark magic within an enemy we hold captive here!” She blurted out.
Athena grinned. Clearly she found the situation amusing. “And let me guess you want my help?”
Sage nodded slowly. “ Of course I don't want it, but I have no other means of confining the man and keeping my Empire safe.”
“Interesting,” Athena purred.
Sage was growing impatient. She hated being toyed with. “Do I have to beg?” She really, really hoped she wouldn't have to beg.
Athena lowered her gaze, meeting Sages eyes for the first time. “Don't be silly dear of course not.”
Sage released her breathe.
“I merely require an even exchange.”
And there was the catch.
“What. Is. That?” Sage asked.
Athena thought about it for a moment. “I want my son to rejoin the ranks of the Gods.”
Sage shook her head. “He would never agree to that.”
“Maybe not right now, but once the war is over he will no longer have a reason to stay.”
Sage opened her mouth to speak and than thought better of it.
Athena's eyes grew cold and distant. “I know what your thinking poor girl. My son fancies you, true. But you are a mere mortal. You will only hinder him. You will only will away and grow old and than die. Ultimately he needs to be with his own kind or risk being lonely forever.”
Athena's words struck Sage harder than she was willing to admit. Sage's relationship was not the problem right now. The clouds darkened. Sage thought about Baron in there with Blue. What other choice did she have. “Alright deal!” Sage yelled.
Athena smiled. She pulled out a knife that had been concealed in her boot strap. Quickly she grabbed Sage's arm. “Let's seal it in blood,” she said slicing the skin on her palm in one quick motion. Sage didn't even wince. She was becoming used to physical pain.
“Alright and one last thing. I'm here to recollect.”
“Yes. Lye back dear,” Athena placed a hand on Sage's chest and pushed her on her back.
The Goddess closed her eyes and began to chant. Sage's insides erupted with fire. It felt as if someone were tearing her internal organs apart. Athena was simply reclaiming her magic that had become rooted deep within Sage's soul. Sage felt her body convulse in response. She had never experienced pain and sorrow to this extent. Athena was cutting away at something that was intertwined to her soul. The ordeal was horrid and drawn out. Athena's face remained a blank sleight, even as Sage screamed in anguish.
When Athena was finished she withdrew her hand away from Sage's chest. Sage laid there, limp, taking time to catch her breath.
“Thanks,”Athena said with glee, before disappearing.
“Bitch,” Sage muttered under her breath. She turned her head. A light gleamed through the glass of the french doors. The storm had been stopped.